Icons : University of Dayton, Ohio
Theotokos is a title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Theotokos is also used as the term for an Eastern icon, or type of icon, of the Mother with Child (typically called a The full title of Mary in Slavic Orthodox tradition is Прест҃а́ѧ влⷣчица на́ша бцⷣа и҆ . Visitation · Marriage. “(So) in looking at these icons the Russian people are communing with the Virgin Mary, and they have a profound relationship on a spiritual. Our Lady of Tenderness — The Lady Who Saves Russia The origin of the ancient Marian icon, Our Lady of Vladimir, can be traced back to relationship of Our Lady of Tenderness with her divine son, Jesus Christ, Mary, Mother of God, .
The name Vladamir was given to the icon later, as it is certainly older and of Byzantine origin. Tradition states that the icon was one of the original images painted by the Evangelist Luke. It is probably for this reason that the icon is places on the trunk of the Virgin Tree, as it is the prototype for countless numbers of other icons.
Whilst the image has been heavily restored over the centuries, the faces of Mary and Jesus — the most striking part of the icon — are original. Article on the history of the Vladamir Icon in Russia. It is an icon with obvious Eucharistic overtones, but because of the name it has also gained popularity in Russia as an icon through which God can heal alcoholism. Special prayers to be said before this image have been specially composed for the purpose. Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God — another icon reputedly painted by St Luke, and also a wonder-working icon.
The original is from the 10th century and now resides on Mt Athos, however copies of this icon became widespread in Russia during the 19th century. Many miracles have been attributed to these copies. The importance of a figure will determine its size in the icon, so that one can quite literally speak of spiritual giants.
An absence of movement or shade gives the effect of freeing one of anything that would distract from communion with the divine. There is never a source of natural light, for God is the light of the transfigured world. To give the effect of divine light radiating out from within a person, the face is painted dark and then layer by layer, lighter. Accents in clothes are done with white or gold, rather than dark shades of color. There are three main schools of icon styles: Russian art belongs to this category.Rare Russian icons on display in Moscow showed the Israelites & Christ as people of color
The name printed on an icon not only signifies the presence of the person portrayed, but also is a seal of holiness and blessing. The pose of an icon usually shows the subject looking into the eyes of the viewer with a serious, matter-of-fact expression, since one tried to portray the spiritual, not human qualities of the saints. On the other hand, if a person stands in profile, it indicates one who is not open to the divine or has not yet reached holiness.
When a hand is raised in blessing with the last two fingers touching the thumb, one is reminded of the divine and human natures of Christ.
When the blessing shows the ring finger touching the thumb, the Trinity is called to mind. Color, as the expression of rainbow light, is very symbolic in iconography.
GOLD, color of the noonday sun, reveals the divine light which permeates all of the transfigured world and is the color for Christ himself. It is most commonly used as the background of an icon, creating a space that is out of the dimensions of this world.
WHITE represents the light, the eternal, those who are penetrated by the divine light, and purity. It is the color of the Father because he was never incarnate but always invisible.
BLUE is the color of faith, of transcendence, humility, the mystery of divine life. Blue and white are the colors of the Virgin Mary who is detached from this world and centered on the divine. RED signifies youth, beauty, wealth, health, love, and war.
It is the color of the Holy Spirit, of sacrifice and of altruism. On its other side it can express hatred, pride or hell. GREEN, derived from plants, symbolizes spiritual regeneration, peace and calmness, and is often used for the prophets and of John the Evangelist who herald the Holy Spirit. BROWN is the tone of the earth, the transfigured land, or as in the case of monks' habits, shows a slow death to the world, like decaying leaves. BLACK is the denial of all light so it suggests chaos, anxiety, and death, but in contrast promises the coming light and new creation.
The damned are painted black and sometimes demons. Categories of saints are distinguishable by their clothing, objects in their hands, and age. Evangelists wear tunics and display their books. Bishops, dressed in liturgical vestments hold a book or scroll. Monks are clothed in a habit and stand straight and disciplined like columns. Soldiers might be in a position showing movement, clad in military uniform and carrying weapons.
Icons of the Mother of God | A Reader's Guide to Orthodox Icons
Bishops and monks are portrayed well advanced in years; soldiers, doctors and women are young. Individuality of particular male saints is indicated by the color, length and style of hair and beard. Women are usually indistinguishable except by the name written on the icon. Spiritual wisdom and the power of the Spirit are detected in the large forehead, and the overall slender appearance reveals fasting and asceticism.
The figures are abstract and unnatural to remind us that on our own we do not approach God, but that he takes the initiative to draw us to himself. The light in an icon seems unrealistic because it comes from within the holy person, revealing the transfiguration of man. Wearing a veil with three stars, on her forehead and each shoulder to signify that she is ever-Virgin, Mary's attitude is one of majesty.
Our Lady of Kazan and Mary's affinity for Russia
Christ is pictured as a small but mature person who looks straight at us and blesses us. This is an icon which portrays the dogma of the Theotokos, the one who bears God. According to legend, the first Hodigitria was painted by St. Mary bends her head toward Jesus but looks at us, at the world to whom she presents her Son.
The faces of mother and child touch. Jesus focuses His attention on His mother, embracing her with one arm, sometimes holding a scroll with the other hand.
This icon demonstrates the reality of the physical motherhood of Mary and thus her power to evoke her Son's tenderness. The Mother of God faces outward with her hands raised in an attitude of prayer, an image that developed out of the pieta, a praying figure with hands raised toward heaven.
This prayer position is also known as the Orante. On her breast is the Christ Child enclosed in a circle, variously interpreted as her womb, or an embroidered medallion such as an empress would have worn as a sign of the emperor's authority.
It is the icon used behind the main altar in the Orthodox church. Mary is seated with the holy child on her lap, appearing solemn and majestic.
The Veneration of the Virgin Mary in the Orthodox Church
Often archangels are pictured, either as bodyguards or in positions of veneration. Sometimes a Galactotrophousa [Milk-Giver] style was used instead to represent this theme of the 'one who brings victory. Mary is shown reclining in such a way as to emphasize that she suffered no pain in childbirth.
Her Child lies in the manger beside her. Encircling this main focal point are smaller scenes of the early life of Jesus. Sometimes the other hand is hidden in her veil and held up to her face in grief. Remaining dignified, she is sad but not hopeless. She looks straight forward in an attitude of prayer while the apostles gaze upward at the ascending Christ or to Mary.
It shows her lying on a couch which is covered with the same red material as at the nativity, surrounded by the apostles. Standing just behind her is Christ holding a small child clothed in white, symbolizing Mary's soul.
Other icons related to Mary are those that portray her four great feasts: She is also shown in icons of the two feasts she shares with Jesus: On the day of a feast, the appropriate icon is solemnly enthroned and venerated.
Anniversaries of miracles associated with icons are also celebrated in liturgy. In Byzantium it had two rows of icons. Since it arrived at its classic form in the sixteenth century in Russia, it consists of five rows of icons that summarize the history of humankind and of salvation.
Legend for the Iconostasis Schema 1 Christ. Row 1 centers on an icon of the Trinity flanked by twelve patriarchs, the earthly ancestors of Christ. Row 2 depicts Our Lady of the Sign revealing the incarnation, with twelve prophets who announced his coming.
Row 3 are icons of feasts which celebrate the mystery to which the above rows witness. Behind each one is a train of angels and saints, their hands raised in a gesture of prayer to intercede for all people. Row 5 is called the local.
In the center is the holy or royal door, the central door to the sanctuary of the church, with icons of Jesus and the Theotokos. To the side are icons of the saint or event to which the church is dedicated. This bottom row is the object of veneration through kisses, touch, candles or incense. The iconostasis gives a sense of history and links the liturgy on earth with the eternal liturgy in heaven. One has the sense of being united with the Communion of Saints.
Images of saints reminded the congregation how specific heroes had applied the teaching of Jesus in a variety of ways, and hopefully would inspire them to do the same. More than lessons in history or dogma, a sacred image brings people into personal contact with the holy. Needs are entrusted to the intercession of the Mother of God and saints that they might join in prayer with them.